I had to pause the podcast less than a minute in to unlock my phone. Normally I would be doing this to check a text message or read an email, but this time it was to have a conversation with Siri. I almost never use Siri but I really wanted to know what her response would be to a question about Foxconn. As it turns out, the people have Apple have also listened to this podcast. She now only responds, “Like it says on the box…I was designed by Apple in California.” I had never thought about asking Siri a question about this, which shows how little the typical American thinks about the source of their goods.
It seems that there is a new story about the horrible working conditions in China coming out every day. However, I have yet to see any real changes happen. We are so comfortable using the products that Chinese sweatshops produce that we tend to quickly forget all of these stories. To think that there was a phone with pictures from inside a Foxconn factory that showed the working conditions and it did not make the front page of any American newspaper is amazing. While we ignore the horrible working conditions that produce all of our “crap”, as Mike Daisey calls it, we also complain about American jobs being outsourced to China. How can we complain about losing jobs when nobody wants to sacrifice a few extra dollars to pay for United States manufacturing costs? We have allowed ourselves to become completely addicted to Apple products and yet we are not willing to suffer the consequences.
Anyone who reads a newspaper or any online media has heard a story about Foxconn. The horrible working conditions, excessive hours, minimal pay, cramped bedrooms, and even suicide nets are all regular news stories. However it seems that the consumers of Apple products do not actually care. I am currently writing this on a Macbook, just like nearly every other post on this blog. I also use an iPhone (and have had about five others) and an iPad on a daily basis. So am I part of this problem? Absolutely, but I don’t see a future where this changes. Apple products are so ingrained in American consumer culture that I don’t think this will ever change. Apple advertises so effectively and so often that the idea of owning an iPhone is completely stuck in the head of every American. The only people who can truly fix this problem are the decision makers at Apple. Realistically, will this ever happen? Given the continual increase in stock price, I seriously doubt it.